A History of a Hack – Epilogue, or anakata’s sentence

Some time ago we recounted the plight of anakata, co-founder of The Pirate Bay, charged with numerous counts of hacking to mainframe computers in Sweden. A few days ago a judgement was passed in his case, but it is probably not the end.

anakata was charged with serious crimes. Apart from hacking the database storing data about all the citizens of Sweden, the charge sheet included an attempted theft of about a million dollars from Nordea bank, stopped at the last moment by the banking transactions monitoring systems. On the basis of extensive case files and an analysis of the body of evidence, we arrived at the conclusion that either anakata had indeed committed the offences or somebody had made a lot of effort and used very sophisticated technology to plant evidence in Cambodia, where the defendant was living.

A complete set of logs, files and screenshots was found on the TrueCrypt disk indicating that anakata himself had done the hacking. This was also corroborated by the testimonies of the co-defendants and evidence found on other computers. The same disk contained anakata’s personal files which could not have been created by anybody else. Anakata himself persistently refused to admit his guilt throughout the investigation, claiming that his computer had been used by a lot of people and he had no idea how all the evidence had got on the encrypted disk on his laptop. Neither did he admit ever using the nickname under which he had bragged about his hackings on the IRC.

The court did not subscribe to his theories and handed down a two-year prison sentence (the prosecuting attorney had postulated four). The sentence, given the gravity of the charges, seems to be rather moderate, though anakata is still the first Swedish citizen put behind bars for computer hacking. Although 2 years is the maximum penalty for computer hacking envisaged in the Swedish law, penalties for fraud – and anakata also heard such a charge – may be much higher. The other defendant, Mathias Gustafsson, was given a suspended sentence of one year in prison and an injunction forcing him to go into a drug rehabilitation.

The judgement in this case did not mean the end of anakata’s problems. During the investigation he finished serving the 1-year prison sentence he had been handed down for his activity in The Pirate Bay and several weeks before the court had decided to hand him over to the Danish law enforcement authorities. The Swede is to be accused by the Danes of hacking into the computer system of the Danish police and stealing the data of 10 thousand accounts with the passwords, hacking into a database containing information about driving licences issued in Denmark and hacking into the Schengen Information System – the huge EU database of wanted people and monitored individuals. So when he serves out his present sentence, he will face another trial and probably more years of solitary confinement – the charges to be pressed against him might earn him as many as 6 years behind bars.

It looks as if anakata will have limited access to the computer for at least several years. Yet he may comfort himself by the fact that in spite of the efforts made by numerous law enforcement agencies, his biggest creation – The Pirate Bay – is still working and it does not look like this is going to change.

If you haven’t read it yet, we recommend the story of anakata’s hacks.

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